Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150
Oregon State Highway 26 runs 465 miles across the State of Oregon from Ontario, OR, on the Idaho/Oregon border to Astoria, OR, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. The Mascall Formation Overlook is located just off Oregon State Highway 26, about 5 miles west of Dayville, Grant County, OR in Central Oregon.
The overlook takes in a portion of the John Day Valley, which was once a broad floodplain of grassland savannahs, meandering rivers, lakes and hardwood forests inhabited by prehistoric elephants, camels, rhinoceroses and saber-tooth tigers.
What can be seen today is the 600 foot deep residue of volcanic activity which occurred over the past 12 to 16 million years. Between 15 and 16 million years ago the area was flooded with lava basalt flows, which in turn was covered by sediment from rivers and lake beds. 12 to 15 million years ago, ash from volcanic eruptions occurring as far away as 80 miles to the east and west, covered this area with hot ash and volcanic debris. In addition to the 15 million year old formation seen in this photograph known as a “volcanic tuff” (a concentration or concretion of volcanic ash), the ash fall left behind a treasure trove of flora and fauna fossils.
The view of the volcanic tuffs in the valley and of the entrance to Picture Gorge on the other side of the valley is worth stopping to see if you are in the area